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Ways We Work

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Chantal Jandard

UI/UX Designer

Chantal is a designer who believes the pixel is mightier than the sword. With a background in both psychology and front-end development, she is interested in ways technology can make us more human and elicit positive change.

What do you do?

I'm a designer; I help make the man-made world human-friendly. Right now, I do a lot of work in interface design and user experience.

How do you stay up to date with trends in your industry/field?

The usual suspects: Twitter, Designer News, Behance and Dribbble. I also try and chat with as many designers as I can, in person. You never know what you might serendipitously pick up.

What are your top five applications or programs?

Sketch 3 - I love that I can produce both low- and high-fidelity artifacts easily without duplicating the effort.

HoverZoom - This chrome extension shows you the full-size image on-hover. Great for quickly scanning through image-heavy websites without having to click in. - If a task is not on there, I promise I will forget it. This app is a life-saver. - I've been into the whole pomodoro craze lately and I've been loving it. I use the five minute breaks as little doodle seshs and they're good brain-break.

Medium - Okay, okay, not technically an app, but it is fantastic for writing. I love that it handles all the typography, allowing me to just focus on producing quality content.

Best way to stay on top of email?

This is weird, but I find I'm better at going through email (and other small-scale tasks) when sitting on the step of a staircase.

Here's my theory: chairs specifically meant for sitting, right? So, when you sit down in a chair, you could reasonably sit there for hours, which makes it easier to procrastinate, since you're less hurried. But very rarely in the average workflow of life does one sit on a step. Usually while on a staircase, you're in motion, up or down, and if you do plop yourself down, it's ever so brief, like to tie your shoe.

So, your mental state while sitting on the step is different than in a chair; it's task-driven and get-in-get-out. As a result, I find myself getting straight down to business, working faster, piddling away less time.

What is your best time-saving trick?

Productive procrastination. Instead of checking Instagram for the thousandth time, I'll grab my to-do list and make myself do something else on it instead of the task at-hand. Although perhaps this means I'm taking a blind eye to the priorities, at least something of value gets done.

One non-tech thing you can’t live without?

Can I name two things? Blank notebook and a decent pen. I'd be lost without being able to jot down notes, doodles and lists. ​​

What does your workspace look like?

I like my space to be functional but with some personality, collecting knick-knacks I find interesting, inspiring or funny. I keep pens and paper close by, with plenty of real estate for a notebook and the laptop. (Note the Bearface coaster! Reppin' the local art scene.) The camel was drawn by my grandfather and is very supportive of my efforts. I have a prism hanging from my window; it's one of my favourite things. I love rainbow o'clock when all the little baby rainbows start dancing around my walls; it perks me up no matter what I'm doing.

Structure of your typical day, how do you divide your time?

Morning is all about the pump-up jams; I'm easily affected by music, so I've been finding listening to something uplifting while the caffeine is still sinking in does wonders for the mood and energy later on in the afternoon. The rest of the day depends greatly on the tasks at hand.

Why do you do what you do? What makes everything worth it?

For the day to day, I love the work itself. The problem-solving, the artsy bits, the tinkering, the research, the people-talking...There's so much variety. The design industry is vast, fast-paced and the learning opportunities are excellently infinite.

But even when your job overall rocks, there are still less-fun bits or rough patches and it's the big-picture that gets me through those. Being a designer is the opportunity to make a positive change in the world, potentially at a dramatic level. There are so many meaningful problems out there, just begging to be solved: to find a solution to even just one is to do something fantastic. Knowing I'm contributing to the greater good and helping others keeps my engine raring to go.

What is the greatest piece of career advice/wisdom you've ever received?

"Just do you." It's so easy to get caught up in the trends or your perception of what you're supposed to be doing in your role. When you produce work that isn't an accurate reflection of yourself and your values, it just comes out unauthentic, weak and awkward.

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

I'd love some tips from Dana Chisnell or Julie Zhou; it blows my mind how much these two women get done. Also, Dan Deacon, because he's a nut and does cool stuff.